How much do you know about tap water in the UK? Our guide will get you up to speed and help you to think more about the pure stuff that flows out of your taps.
The Best-Tasting Tap Water?
Severn Trent is the utility firm that products the best-tasting tap water in the UK, as rated by a panel of food experts that included Tom Aikens, the Michelin-starred chef. The water was described by one panellist as being comparable to a mountain stream for its freshness. Severn Trent covers mid-Wales and the Midlands.
In second place was Anglian Water, and in third place was Thames Water. The area with the poorest-tasting tap water is served by Wessex Water, including Bath and Bristol.
The Different Tastes of the UK Water Supply
Research shows that each area of the UK has water that tastes slightly different – as evidenced by the taste test above. The same is true with bottled water, which is drunk by around 30 million UK customers.
Is Bottled Better Tasting Than Tap?
This debate has raged on for years, but a recent survey suggested that tap water is now winning. The average British customer now drinks around 40 litres of bottled water annually, and the industry in the UK is worth around £2 billion. However, surveys have suggested that the average customer can’t tell the difference between bottled and tap water, especially if it has been filtered at home. Hard water also contains minerals such as calcium and magnesium, which would otherwise come with a heftier price tag for a bottled variety.
How Do the Costs Stack Up?
Research suggests that the average consumer will spend around £20,000 in their lifetime on bottled water or other associated drinks. Compare this to a litre of tap water, which Thames Water has calculated costs around 0.097p – equating to 1p a bucket. This means that bottled water costs a whopping 500 times more than pure tap water. This is similar to paying around £1,500 for a glass of wine or a pint of beer. Interestingly, those expensive coffees, lattes and commercial drinks that you buy from fancy coffee and drinks chains tend to use tap water – and 90pc of the resulting drink will just be tap water. Again, are you suddenly less inclined to pay £3 or so for the product?
Is Hard Water Anything to Worry About?
There are no known negative effects of hard water on human health, and in fact hard water tends to contain higher mineral levels. However, it can lead to scummy tea, limescale on kettles and appliances and a requirement for greater amounts of detergent. Shower screens tend to get scummy, pipes can experience build-up and people report that their hair looks duller when they wash it using hard water. It also has a particular taste which is very noticeable to people who live in soft-water areas. Hard water can be improved taste-wise by using a simple home water filter. You can also install mechanical water softener units or use water-softening products that contain baking soda and borax.
Which Parts of the UK Have Hard Water?
Some of the regions with the hardest water include Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Dorset, Essex, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Oxfordshire, Suffolk, Surrey, Sussex and Wiltshire.
What About Water Fluoride?
Fluoride, a naturally occurring element, is added to the water supply in some British areas to boost tooth health and cut levels of tooth decay. This is determined by local authorities, and there are schemes in place across parts of the North East, West, East and West Midlands, parts of Eastern England and Yorkshire and the Humber. In some areas of the Midlands and the North East, the water supply has sufficient naturally occurring fluoride in comparable levels. Learn more at:
Did You Know That Your Water Pressure Can Be Boosted at Home?
Improvements in technology mean that low-pressure areas no longer need suffer with lazy flushing toilets and trickling showers. Water booster pump products give flexibility of location and act to provide a fantastic flow of water in the home, sometimes mixing in air for ‘rainfall’ showers or using other technologies to increase the flow and power of the water stream.
For more advice or to find contact details of your local water and wastewater suppliers visit http://www.water.org.uk/consumers/find-your-supplier